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Practice Areas
Divorce
Child Custody
Relocation Of Children
Enforcement of Judgments
Modification of Judgments
Non-Marital Agreements
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The decision to get a divorce is difficult for most people to make. The prospects of reconstructing one’s life and navigating the legal process are daunting. Many people who make the decision to divorce look back years later on the experience with awe – that it was even more difficult than they initially imagined – even when they know that it was the right thing for them to do.

If you are contemplating a divorce but have not yet made the decision to separate, it is the right time for you to see a lawyer. You need to learn about the process in order to make sound decisions about whether, when, and how to proceed. You may find it beneficial to work with a therapist to assist you in making personal decisions. You can read about the process from many sources. (One excellent resource is The Divorce Handbook by James T. Friedman, available in paperback from Random House.) It is important to get the advice on your own unique situation from a qualified lawyer who specializes in family law.

Most of the practice of Margaret S. Travers, P.C. consists of divorce cases. Our role is ordinarily to represent one party to the divorce (one lawyer cannot represent both parties) in opposition to counsel representing the other spouse. Sometimes we serve our client as advisors during a mediation process. We encourage our clients to seek mediation in suitable situations, particularly when there are children involved, such as with an able mental health professional in working out a Parenting Plan.

The legal process of obtaining a divorce is fairly simple. It usually begins with the filing in the Court of a Complaint for Divorce, usually on the no-fault grounds of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. When the Complaint is filed, a Restraining Order enters automatically, which prevents the Plaintiff from using assets other than for ordinary living or business expenses or for legal fees. Once the Complaint if filed, a Domestic Relations Summons is issued by the Court and served on the Defendant, either by acceptance or by a third party. Upon service, the same Restraining Order applies to the Defendant. When a written Agreement resolving all issues is filed with the Court, the case can be processed on the Complaint, if 6 months have passed since the filing, or the Complaint may be amended to a Joint Petition for Divorce to eliminate that 6-month period. Most Courts will schedule a hearing of an uncontested divorce within several weeks of the request. A Divorce Judgment Absolute will enter automatically, 90 days from the hearing of a Complaint, and 120 days from the hearing of a Joint Petition.

The complexity of a divorce is often related to the nature of the assets owned by the couple. The process of resolving financial issues usually begins with the exchange between the parties of a Financial Statement that summarizes a party’s income, expenses, assets, and debts and which discloses what counsel fees have been paid and incurred. An important aspect of learning what needs to be known about the case (a process called discovery) is the production of documents. Other forms of discovery that are frequently used include interrogatories and depositions. The appraisal of a home or other property is often necessary. Certain kinds of pension plans require valuation by an expert.

We usually prefer to file a Complaint for Divorce on behalf of our client and have the negotiation of all issues take place within the context of the Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure, rather than waiting to determine whether an agreement can be reached and processed from the start on a Joint Petition.



In accordance with rules established by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. This web site must be labeled "advertising." It is designed to provide general information for clients and friends of the firm and should not be construed as legal advice, or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

 

 
 
 

One McKinley Square, Boston, Massachusetts 02109
Telephone: 617.423.0099 Facsimile: 617.423.5880

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